Hundreds of migrants captured off Gallipoli as Italy thanks Turkey for efforts
AA PhotoHundreds of migrants were captured from a Turkish-flagged cargo ship in the Dardanelles Strait on March 12 after coast guards opened fire to stop the vessel.
The 59-meter-long cargo ship, the Doğan Kartal, ignored security forces’ calls to stop off the Gallipoli peninsula. After halting sea traffic in the strait, the Coast Guard fired on the engine room of the ship that was fleeing.
The migrants reportedly resisted and threatened the captain to prevent him from surrendering. The ship was halted after its rudder became locked due to a technical problem.
A total of 337 migrants, including 85 children and 68 women, have been transferred to Gelibolu, while the ship was docked at the Gelibolu port by the Coast Guard. The migrants were set to be questioned after undergoing a health check.
Two crew members and a foreigner who organized the journey for the migrants have been detained.
Italy thanks Turkey
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano thanked Turkey for its efforts to prevent “ghost ships” from illegally carrying migrants to Italy.
Alfano said the cooperation between the two countries was working properly as no ships had recently been able to reach the shores of Italy.
The minister suggested the cooperation between Turkey and Italy should be expanded to other European countries.
Fifteen vessels dubbed as “ghost ships” reached Italy from Turkey between September 2014 and January. In the cases, human smugglers abandoned the ships and migrants in the middle of the sea without captains after reaching Italian waters.